D800->Z7 or wait for next generation?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,765
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Spare-time photog wrote:

So in theory the camera should focus better on eyes in portrait mode, because the eyebrows, the eye lids etc. are then not parallel to the long edge.

After this shoot I would say the opposite is true.

Forget about theory - as in DSLR phase detect AF.

Nikon has disclosed very little little about how Z AF works.

What seems clear is there are no relatively long rows of AF detectors able, unlike a DSLR, to cover the depth of an eye.

A single AF point may be too small to cover the depth of an eye dependant on how big an eye is in the viewfinder.

In theory a single AF point on a Z6 is a different size to that in an AF point in a Z7.

Nikon has not clarified and I do not own both bodies to do side by side comparisons.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

I should have tried both: using the 1:1 magnification and trying to focus manually. But in the heat of the shoot I didn't want to fiddle around more than needed.

This is perhaps why most camera makers advise getting familiar with equipment before an important shoot.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

And that is the crux:

IT IS NOT THE CRUX.

I need to "effectively shout" because some are reluctant in the ballyhoo that ML is best for everything and to accept that Mirrorless AF works different to a DSLR.

I pointed the AF field directly over the eye, partly also covering the eyebrows, eye lashes, etc. What I did is the same which the new eye AF update should do automatically, but if this target is not suited for the AF to work properly... hm, then we are in trouble until the model has clown type make up.

Seriously, I am quite clueless why the Z had so many difficulties to focus properly.

All you can do is learn when current ML AF is not as able as current DSLR AF.

Nikon has been developing a form of AF for about 30 years - which cannot be fitted in a ML body.

Nikon has part resolved one ML weakness with Wide Area AF (L) whereby the AF can recognise some subjects from information based on several AF points and can even follow their movement across the frame.

Sony are currently introducing AF to some Sony DSLR's which goes further using colour etc under a group of AF points.

Sony has been developing ML AF for 5 years - and has only just got to this stage.

Nikon right now are behind, but will move forward with the AF upgrade due this month.

A little of topic, Fuji medium format has an option to display what is within the depth of field, in a manner similar to focus peaking.

With 100mm f2 medium format "razor thin" dof at f2 it can be an excellent feature for portrait photography.

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Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

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edform
edform Veteran Member • Posts: 6,352
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Sony are currently introducing AF to some Sony DSLR's which goes further using colour etc under a group of AF points.

Sony has been developing ML AF for 5 years - and has only just got to this stage.

Nikon right now are behind, but will move forward with the AF upgrade due this month.

Nikon have been developing mirrorless AF since about 2009, with their first release on 21 September 2011; the models were the Nikon 1 V1 and its J siblings. By March 2014, when they released the V3, Nikon's AF system had become very sophisticated and astonishingly good. I have whole bursts of 20-30 shots in which every single frame is perfectly focused and loads more in which the focus can be seen to grab after the first shot and then stay locked on.

It is pretty clear that during the negotiations between Nikon and Sony for the supply of a 36.3 Megapixel sensor for the D800 - a major concession on Sony's part since this was the beginning of the high pixel count world - part of the deal was Sony acquiring knowledge of Nikon's work on very high speed autofocus.

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Ed Form

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,765
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

edform wrote:

Nikon have been developing mirrorless AF since about 2009,

Half agreed, though in terms of new products development stopped a few years back.

Perhaps I should have referred to 24x36 format.

The original Nikon ML format had about 3 stops more dof than 24x36 so focus did not have to be quite so accurate - especially with 45 MP in the Z7.

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Leonard Shepherd
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edform
edform Veteran Member • Posts: 6,352
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

edform wrote:

Nikon have been developing mirrorless AF since about 2009,

Half agreed, though in terms of new products development stopped a few years back.

Not so Leonard, N1 product releases ceased a few years back, but it's pretty clear that work in that sphere was superseded by development of the Z cameras, so my guess is development of the AF system has been continuous.

Perhaps I should have referred to 24x36 format.

The original Nikon ML format had about 3 stops more dof than 24x36 so focus did not have to be quite so accurate - especially with 45 MP in the Z7.

Performance in the near field through a 300mm lens was pretty good...

I had an RX10-iv recently and it would have done only marginally better than this even though it has the AF system of an A9 - the system in my V3 was on the market several years earlier.

My judgement is that commercial pressures sent the Z cameras to the market slightly early and that the new firmware release in two weeks from now will set Nikon's current ducks in a row

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Ed Form

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whimsicalmike
whimsicalmike Contributing Member • Posts: 672
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

edform wrote:

My judgement is that commercial judgement sent the Z cameras to the market slightly early and that the new firmware release in two weeks from now will set Nikon's current ducks in a row

Hope your correct but then we will have a lot of trolls and other fanboys having lots of emotional meltdowns

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edform
edform Veteran Member • Posts: 6,352
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

whimsicalmike wrote:

edform wrote:

My judgement is that commercial judgement sent the Z cameras to the market slightly early and that the new firmware release in two weeks from now will set Nikon's current ducks in a row

Hope your correct but then we will have a lot of trolls and other fanboys having lots of emotional meltdowns

You're just being cruel! 

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Ed Form

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whimsicalmike
whimsicalmike Contributing Member • Posts: 672
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

edform wrote:

whimsicalmike wrote:

edform wrote:

My judgement is that commercial judgement sent the Z cameras to the market slightly early and that the new firmware release in two weeks from now will set Nikon's current ducks in a row

Hope your correct but then we will have a lot of trolls and other fanboys having lots of emotional meltdowns

You're just being cruel!

I just find it very entertaining when they come to the Nikon Forum desperately trying to prove how much better their Sony, Canon or Olypussy is. They do try very hard poor little creatures

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OP Spare-time photog Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Sorry - a made a mistake

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Spare-time photog wrote:

So in theory the camera should focus better on eyes in portrait mode, because the eyebrows, the eye lids etc. are then not parallel to the long edge.

After this shoot I would say the opposite is true.

When taking important shots, pressing the centre of the AF Nintendo button zooms in (dependent on settings) to 100% - ideal for checking focus accuracy.

If you had done this after 3 or 4 shots you could have switched to manual focus.

I should have tried both: using the 1:1 magnification and trying to focus manually. But in the heat of the shoot I didn't want to fiddle around more than needed.

This is perhaps why most camera makers advise getting familiar with equipment before an important shoot.

You are right. But this shoot was partly done to get familiar with the camera.

If the lens normally focusses good with other subjects you are learning, for whatever reason, AF does not work good with this type of subject.

My guess is the subject was unsuitable for accurate focus for one of the reasons mentioned on page 54 of the En User Manual.

And that is the crux:

IT IS NOT THE CRUX.

Perhaps you misunderstood me, or perhaps not.

It is not the crux, that ML has weaknesses regarding AF, what I meant is:

I aligned the AF point perfectly over her eye and the result was not sharp. Single point, AF-S, quite straight forward approach, not very bright light, but also not very dim light.

What I did is more or less exactly the same as what the next firmware update with eye AF will do automatically: it will align the AF point over the eye.

So if there is no further improvement of the AF system under the hood, which turns a not-suited target, in this case the eye, in a well-suited target, then the next update is not that much of an improvement in situations like mine. Thus it seems logical that there will be some improvements to the low-light abilities as well. (And Nikon has confirmed that in their announcement, if I remember correctly.)

But we will see soon.

I need to "effectively shout" because some are reluctant in the ballyhoo that ML is best for everything and to accept that Mirrorless AF works different to a DSLR.

After a quick google and dictionary search I was able to understand your sentence, sorry I am not a native speaker, but I guess you already noticed that.

You are right, even long-time professionals I talked to had to get used to the Z cameras.

I pointed the AF field directly over the eye, partly also covering the eyebrows, eye lashes, etc. What I did is the same which the new eye AF update should do automatically, but if this target is not suited for the AF to work properly... hm, then we are in trouble until the model has clown type make up.

Seriously, I am quite clueless why the Z had so many difficulties to focus properly.

All you can do is learn when current ML AF is not as able as current DSLR AF.

Nikon has been developing a form of AF for about 30 years - which cannot be fitted in a ML body.

Nikon has part resolved one ML weakness with Wide Area AF (L) whereby the AF can recognise some subjects from information based on several AF points and can even follow their movement across the frame.

Sony are currently introducing AF to some Sony DSLR's which goes further using colour etc under a group of AF points.

Sony has been developing ML AF for 5 years - and has only just got to this stage.

Nikon right now are behind, but will move forward with the AF upgrade due this month.

A little of topic, Fuji medium format has an option to display what is within the depth of field, in a manner similar to focus peaking.

With 100mm f2 medium format "razor thin" dof at f2 it can be an excellent feature for portrait photography.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,765
Re- now Emotional meltdowns

edform wrote:

whimsicalmike wrote:

edform wrote:

My judgement is that commercial judgement sent the Z cameras to the market slightly early and that the new firmware release in two weeks from now will set Nikon's current ducks in a row

Hope your correct but then we will have a lot of trolls and other fanboys having lots of emotional meltdowns

You're just being cruel!

May yes - maybe no.

This aside I think it fair to say Nikon released Z "when they had to" to limit and maybe reverse the losses to Sony. and maybe to get a couple of months ahead of Canon.

As to "emotional meltdowns" one neat trick is to show some of your best images to those having an emotional meltdown - and wait to see if they can match your image quality 

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Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

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